Cancellation of clinical trials disappoints

The cancellation of a clinical trial of the liberation therapy disappointed a Central Albertan who received the treatment for her multiple sclerosis.

The cancellation of a clinical trial of the liberation therapy disappointed a Central Albertan who received the treatment for her multiple sclerosis.

Saskatchewan’s planned participation in a trial in Albany, N.Y., was cancelled on Monday after not enough people had stepped forward to be involved.

Liberation therapy, also known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), has been used to treat MS. And while the results of these treatments have been mixed, some MS patients have seen improvement in their condition after the treatment.

May Feitsma, of Ponoka, received the treatment three years ago in India. She said since the treatment her symptoms have slowed down.

“It hasn’t gotten worse and it hasn’t gotten better,” said Feitsma.

“It is slowly going backwards, with my mobility and strength. I think without the liberation it would have gone that way, too, it’s more at a stand still now then what it would have been.”

Confined to a wheelchair, Feitsma has secondary-progressive MS and is paralyzed on her left side. Immediately after receiving the treatment, she was able to write with her right hand, something she had been unable to do for two years prior.

Feitsma said she would go get the treatment again.

Darrel Gregory, MS Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories director of marketing and communications, also expressed disappointment in the cancellation. He said the society would have closely monitored the trial and its potential outcomes.

“We know this possible avenue of treatment represents hope for a lot of people,” said Gregory. “The fact they couldn’t get enough people to participate in the trial is very disappointing for us and I’m sure for everybody who lives with MS.”

While slightly fewer than 200 people were required for the clinical trial to go ahead, only 86 signed up.

Alberta is working on an observational study. Starting a year ago, any Albertan who had the treatment done was invited to participate in the two-year study.

“We’re monitoring any research that is being done on MS and CCSVI to determine what the connection is, if there is in fact a connection at all,” said Gregory.

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